Dubai Tour attracts world's best riders for second edition
The Dubai Tour organisers declared they aim to compete with the best cycling events in the world after unveiling a new official jersey designed by global fashion house Paul Smith on Tuesday.
"Our vision is for us to compete with the best cycling events in the world. We want to be on the same level of the likes of Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, and maybe even become better than them," said Saeed Hareb, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Dubai Tour.
“We have learned a lot from the first edition, the experience was vital to make us go further. I promise you that the second edition is a much better improvement than the first.
“For this edition the levels of the race are much longer and more roads will be ready for the racers to compete.”
This year’s race, organised by Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sport, will be held from February 4 to 7 and feature some of the biggest names in cycling.
The likes of powerhouses Team Sky and Lampre-Merida will be joined by a UAE national team and the Emirates’ Skydive Dubai team in a field of 16, made up of 128 riders from around the world.
Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) are expected to be in action. Taylor Phinney (BMC) dominated the race last year by winning the opening time trial.
The Dubai Tour is organised by the Dubai Sports Council in partnership with RCS Sport, the organisers of the Giro d'Italia.
The jerseys will be produced by Italian company Castelli, with the race leader's jersey again a dark blue colour.
The points jersey is red, the intermediate sprints jersey is red, white, green and black, like the UAE flag, with the best young rider wearing a white jersey.
The race has been upgraded to 2.HC status, allowing RCS Sport to invite more WorldTour teams.
There will be 10 WorldTour teams in total this year: AG2R-La Mondiale, Astana, BMC Racing, Etixx-QuickStep, Lampre-Merida, Movistar, Giant-Alpecin, Katusha, Team Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo.
With one less WorldTour team, the organisers have invited four Pro Continental teams, one Continental outfit and a UAE national team.
The four Pro Continental teams are Bardiani CSF, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, UnitedHealthcare and Novo Nordisk, while local team SkyDive Dubai also earned a spot.
To ensure the jerseys are perfect for the warm Dubai climate, Castelli has used a lightweight high-tech fabric supplied by SITIP that is both UV-protective and allows for a very rapid rate of heat dissipation.
The jerseys were presented in Dubai on Tuesday morning, with Paul Smith sending a video message from his studio in London.
"I was very pleased to be asked to design the Dubai Tour jerseys having learnt a lot from my previous experiences working on the Giro D'Italia,” he said in a press release from RCS Sport.
“There are four jerseys, one for each of the different classifications and a key consideration in the design of each was keeping the riders cool. Working with Castelli, I've used a breathable fabric on the front, there's a full zip that they can open if they need to cool down and on the back it's got a UV filter fabric. The Dubai Tour is becoming increasingly important in the road cycle season and I'm looking forward to watching.”
The second edition of the Dubai Tour is longer and harder than the 2014 race, with the riders covering 663km during the four stages. The 205km third stage finishes with a steep climb up to the Hatta Dam.
Marcel Kittel, who won three of the four stages last year, will be the notable exclusion, but Team Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali has confirmed he will be present for the four-day race.
For the first time the opening day’s Time Trial has been replaced with a proper stage over 145 kilometres with a start from the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC).
The hospitality village will be open each day of the race at the Dubai International Marine Club from 9.00 to 15.30, allowing fans to meet the champions and enjoy the local sponsors’ hospitality.
“The Dubai Tour has grown very quickly and in just its second year is one of the more important cycling events in the international calendar. Great collaborations, such as this one with the famous designer Paul Smith, highlight the race’s prestige,” said Hareb.
“The increasing importance of the Dubai Tour, both locally and internationally, has attracted new sponsors and greater investments and we are proud to have such prestigious partners at our side. These are companies of fundamental importance for Dubai and represent the Dubai brand the world over.”
“The Dubai Tour is a long-term commitment for CBD as we have a three-year agreement with them. We have a common ambition in creating a happy and healthy city,” said Peter Baltusen, CEO of CBD.
Four of the most important brands in Dubai, Commercial Bank Of Dubai, Emirates, Dubai Sports Channel And RTA (Roads and Transport Authority), will sponsor the Dubai Tour 2015 leaders’ jerseys.
The Dubai Tour 2015 jerseys will be:
General Classification: worn by the overall winner, the one who has proven themselves to be the fastest and most consistent rider over the course. The inaugural, 2014 blue jersey was won by BMC’s Taylor Phinney.
Sponsor: Commercial Bank of Dubai
Points Classification: worn by the fastest sprinter, the one who has arrived before the others. Last year the jersey was won by Giant Alpecin’s Marcel Kittel, winner of three of four stages.
UAE Flag Jersey
Intermediate Sprint Classification: worn by the rider who has struggled along the entire course to gain more Intermediate Sprint Points than any other rider. Last year’s winner was Willem Jakobus Smit from South Africa.
Sponsor: Dubai Sports Channel
Young Rider Classification: worn by the best young rider, the personification of the power and of the future. Tailor Phinney also won this classification in 2014.
Sponsor: RTA (Roads and Transport Authority)
Additionally, Dubai Eye 103.8 will also sponsor the race. The Official Partners of the Dubai Tour 2015 are Castelli, Vittoria, GL Events, Dolomia Mineral Water and Novo Nordisk. The Stage Sponsors are The Westin Dubai, Nakheel and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. The race's Official Suppliers are EP – The Italian Catering Company , SITIP. Its Official Licensees are Castelli, Kask and Wolfi’s Bike Shop. The event's Official Supporters are Wolfi’s Bike Shop Dubai, The Cycle Hub, Revolution Cycles Dubai, Flywheel Sports and Ride Bike Shop.
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